Thursday, December 14, 2017

Andrea Gabor Drills Down Into Success Academy Charter School Network

A must read analysis by Andrea Gabor. One of the best in depth articles - and she also exposes the failed journalism of Chalkbeat's Elizabeth Green.

Much-Hyped Success Academy Charter School Network Is Perfectly in Sync With Trumpian Times | Alternet

Success Academy is at the forefront of an anti-democratic movement to replace public schools with charters, while curtailing government oversight.

Video - Superintendent John Kuhn - From Michael Elliot

What’s wrong with the way we fund our schools? Superintendent John Kuhn gives a powerful explanation.
Moved? WE NEED FOLKS to take part in the Action Campaign to try to prevent the defunding of public ed in the tax bill. Please use this link!
#8Voices4PublicEd #edchat

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


THURSDAY AT 5:30 PM, JOIN NYPAN and a broad coalition of environmental, housing,
social justice, educational and voting rights groups, at Governor Cuomo's $50,000 per
head birthday party on Wall Street (Cipriani's, 55 Wall) of all places! Less than 2% of Cuomo's re-election contributors have given less than $1000. Guess whose tune he jumps too, despite his "progressive" rhetoric.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

UFT Official Asks: Why Don't They (Teachers) Fight Back?

  • The DOE has set up DOE legal to advise principals on how to chop up their teaching corps.
  • The UFT has set up gotz.
  • Teachers full well know that the union doesn't have their backs if they stick their necks out.
  • 75% of NYC teachers are women and many are victims of abuse by principals - I'm not talking sexual, but bullying, though I bet a lot more sexual harassment goes on than is recognized.
There is a disconnect between people at the top of the UFT and people who work in the schools. 


The UFT/Unity Caucus leadership just can't understand why so many teachers are too fearful to stand up to their all-powerful principals - an expansion of power granted to them under Bloomberg unopposed by the union leadership.

In the article I wrote for Another View in the UFT , I compared these put downs of the real fear so many teachers feel every day to the putdowns of women who feared to come forward for so many years. The same mechanism of the effect of so much power in the hands of bosses and people in control of one's career is operating. And let's not forget that 75% of NYC teachers are women, thus doubling the stakes for them, though of course men are also affected.

So for the leadership to take the attitude that they not take the lead in opposing principal power openly, but only work behind the scenes using the excuse that teachers must act and organize in the school first is not only lame but inexcusable in these times.

It doesn't seem to occur to them that their job is to take the lead when chapters are disorganized and under assault.

Principal Sexually Harasses Teacher - Where is CSA, UFT and DOE?

“This guy’s using the school as his own personal dating service,” said Barnett’s lawyer Jonathan Tand. “He harassed her, and when she finally had the courage to leave him, he retaliated.”... NY Daily News
In every other industry, even Congress, action is taken. Women are being believed. Not in the world of the CSA, DOE. I think that in some cases we may be going overboard and also due process counts. But at the very least this principal should be under investigation over the charges if not outright removal pending the outcome.

Not the first time this principal has been in the news or on blogs:
  1. School leaders allow cheating ‘to boost the numbers ...
    At Urban Action Academy in Canarsie, an 18-year-old girl with the reading skills of a kindergartner had a passing grade of 65 on the ... Principal Steve Dorcely, ...
  2. Steve Dorcely, Principal. Urban Action Academy. 1600 ROCKAWAY PARKWAY BROOKLYN NY 11236
Now comes another story that dovetails into today's news: Sexual harassment of an employees. While women are believed now - when it comes to the DOE and teachers, not so much.

Hey, we know it is alleged but given the climate of seeing so many people suspended or losing their jobs based on alleged, we do see a double standard when it comes to NYC principals. A teacher is rubber roomed based on slivers of charges.

NYC principal allegedly harassed colleague after being dumped - NY Daily News

He loved her. She loved him not. And now a spurned Brooklyn principal stands accused of harassing a colleague for two ugly years after she ended their affair.
Teacher Jordan Barnett, in an 18-page court filing, recounted the vile and vengeful antics of unrelenting Urban Action Academy Principal Steve Dorcely once she dumped him for cheating.
“Despite plaintiff’s exemplary job performance, (Dorcely) targeted and callously discriminated against her on the basis of her gender and sexually harassed her relentlessly in the workplace,” the November lawsuit charged.
The oversexed Dorcely turned alternately vindictive and creepy, propositioning Barnett at time while also accusing her of bogus disciplinary violations, the court papers charged.
Queens principal accused of 'retaliatory harassment,' suit says
In Nov. 2016, the 36-year-old Barnett recounted Dorcely sneaking up behind her as she bent over to plug her cell phone into an outlet during a meeting.
“Put your butt on me,” she recounted the grinning principal whispering in her ear.
About a month later, Barnett was talking with another colleague about a breast cancer scare that left her with painful cysts due to stress.
“That’s because no one is sucking on your (breasts),” Barnett allegedly said after overhearing their chat.

Queens principal allegedly retaliated after behavior report: suit
Rumors abounded about the $161,871-a-year principal sleeping with “various staff members,” and Barnett alleged that Dorcely was sexually involved with another academy staffer.

The 17-year principal, who boasts a clean disciplinary record, made another unwanted advance on Barnett during a Dec. 12, 2016, lunch at a Brooklyn burger joint.
When Barnett turned Dorcely down, the principal snapped, “You’re going to regret the decision you made. Watch, you’ll see.”
“This guy’s using the school as his own personal dating service,” said Barnett’s lawyer Jonathan Tand. “He harassed her, and when she finally had the courage to leave him, he retaliated.”
  Dorcely arranged for four investigations of Barnett in the last six months, his latest bits of payback against his ex-lover, the suit says. He embarrassed her in public, and gave Barnett unwarranted negative performance reviews.
She was “constantly targeted, ridiculed and criticized by Dorcely at every turn” during the spring 2017 semester — eventually landing Barnett in therapy, the court papers alleged.

The city Education Department declined comment on the suit, and would not say if an internal investigation was underway.
The city Law Department will review the complaint and “respond accordingly,” according to spokesman Nick Paolucci.
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of money, and names the city Department of Education as a co-defendant.

Monday, December 11, 2017

CSA To Principals: Go Screw Teachers and UFT on Paperwork (and pretty much anything else) While UFT Keeps Hands Off

We have been maintaining that the UFT has a basic hands off CSA members in terms of public attack while the CSA tells its members to do what they want. Read our recent Another View newsletter: Exposing Unity Caucus: Another View in the UFT - H...

James Eterno comments:
Notice there are specifics from CSA and a mostly general outline from the UFT with very few specifics.You be the judge on who is doing a better job of looking out for their membership.... James Eterno, conclusion, UFT AND CSA ON PAPERWORK
James has a must read comparing the UFT and CSA on paperwork. He opens with:
We have this article from the UFT on paperwork in the weekly Chapter Leader Update. It follows the Principal's union, the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, sending something out to their members basically telling them they can do whatever they want with paperwork....  
In the comments section James and Arthur debate the point:
Blogger NYC Educator said...
CSA is more specific, but that doesn't make them more accurate. I know at least some of these assertions to be false. I know none of them to be absolutely correct.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 6:34:00 AM
Blogger James Eterno said...
NYC Educator, That is the point. The principals are specific and aggressive saying they can do whatever they want, even when contractually they are wrong. The UFT fights back one school at a time. Meanwhile, where there aren't strong chapters, the abuse of our members continues. I venture to say that if there are resolutions in 300 schools (probably a generous number) and 400 other schools have enlightened principals who don't bother with this nonsense, that leaves about 1000 schools where teachers can be abused.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 8:41:00 AM
Blogger NYC Educator said...
I absolutely agree with you about schools where there aren't strong chapters. I hear stories of principals who ignore the contract with impunity utterly fairly often. It's on us to stop that, and yes I know there are multiple issues facing us on that front. I still think the UFT response is better. Some of these are gray areas, some are not, but if we're willing to file paperwork complaints, and I certainly am, we will prove the principals wrong. Nonetheless, it speaks volumes that they will outright lie like that to their members. It explains a lot.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 9:09:00 AM
Blogger James Eterno said...
The principals aren't really lying Arthur. That is their position on the contract that they can basically do whatever the hell they like. CSA is fighting hard centrally and UFT does one school at a time pushback. It is not difficult to figure out who wins that one.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 1:29:00 PM
Blogger NYC Educator said...
I understand your point. I still think they're lying. Nonetheless, I see how it works. Sorta makes you think maybe the UFT should reconsider the position of not pushing back so-called fellow union members.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:35:00 PM
Blogger James Eterno said...
Exactly. CSA does not seem to give a damn that we are fellow union members. It used to be a partial two way street. Not any longer in too many schools.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 4:09:00 PM

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Eva Moskowitz - Return Paul Tudor Money After His Support for Harvey Weinstein

Racism and Sexism rampant in Success Academy hedge fund supporters. You already know about Dan Loeb - see below -- now we have:

Paul Tudor Jones who gave Success $600,000 - which covers Eva's salary. 

Both are allies of Campbell Brown who accused the union of protecting sexual predators in schools.

Paul Tudor Jones consoled Harvey Weinstein, said people would ...

2 days ago - Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund titan, expressed his support for the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in an email shortly before Weinstein was ousted from his own company, The New York Times reported Wednesday. He said the "good news" was that everyone would forget about the ...

"I Love You; Focus On The Future": Paul Tudor Jones Humiliated After ...

2 days ago - Late last night the New York Times published a comprehensive article delving into the powerful support network of Harvey Weinstein, a network on which he apparently relied to help cover up decades of sexual assaults. Among the allies discussed in the article was none other than legendary hedge fund ...

Paul Tudor Jones Told Weinstein That Sex Allegations Would Blow ...

2 days ago - Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones can't seem to get things right these days. The billionaire is losing money this year at his macro firm and investors are fleeing. Now it's come to light that Jones gave support to Harvey Weinstein as sexual harassment allegations engulfed the movie mogul. Jones also ...

Paul Tudor Jones Inexplicably Wrote An Email To Ensure That History ...

Paul Tudor Jones Inexplicably Wrote An Email To Ensure That History Will Remember Him As Harvey Weinstein's Most Ardent Enabler. By Thornton McEnery · 2 Comments / Dec 6, 2017 at 12:05 PM. 1Shares. We've been wondering when a bold-faced Wall Street name would implicate himself in this culturally shattering ...

Hedge-Fund Titan Paul Tudor Jones on the Defensive Over Ties to ...
2 days ago - Hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones took the unusual step of explaining his relationship with Harvey Weinstein, after a report indicated that Mr. Jones supported the disgraced Hollywood mogul as sexual harassment allegations unfolded earlier this year. In a letter to employees Wednesday, Mr. Jones ...
The Dan Loeb file:

City & State - Dan Loeb and the political price of racism
Aug 15, 2017 - The events in Charlottesville came on the heels of Dan Loeb, a politically powerful hedge fund manager, comparing state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the highest ranking black woman elected official in New York, to the KKK. In a Facebook rant, Loeb said she has done "more damage to people of color ...

De Blasio urges charter school head to resign over racist post - NY ...
Aug 11, 2017 - Mayor de Blasio Friday called on Dan Loeb to resign as chairman of the Success Academy charter school board after the politically-connected hedge fund manager posted racistcomments about the Democratic leader of the state Senate. "Dan Loeb's comments are an affront to all people of color," de ...

Protesters outside charter school call for Dan Loeb's resignation - NY ...
Aug 18, 2017 - Protesters stormed Success Academy Harlem 1 charter school on Friday demanding that charter school chairman Daniel Loeb be fired for making racist comments about a black lawmaker. About two dozen progressives and activists gathered outside the W. 118th Street school – where class was still in ...

Cuomo donor makes racist comments about Senate Minority Leader ...
Aug 11, 2017 - Cuomo made racist remarks on Facebook about Senate Democratic Minority Leader, according to a report Thursday. Responding to a New York Times story, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb wrote that Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins has done “more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever ...

In emails, Dan Loeb scolded top black de Blasio official over City ...
Nov 21, 2017 - In emails, Dan Loeb scolded top black de Blasio official over City Hall's treatment of black children. By ELIZA SHAPIRO ... Loeb, long known as a particularly capricious hedge fund manager, has been called a racist by some after he claimed in August that Democratic state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins had ...

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Next UFT Contract Tied to Janus Decision: Why Do You Need a Union if it doesn't negotiate?

James Eterno points out (ICEUFT Blog
UPDATES AND PREDICTION ON NEXT ROUND OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING) that the basics of the next contract will follow a pattern possibly set by another union - DC37. Other than salary there won't be much else negotiated, other than paid parental leave in exchange for a slice of the raise.

Nothing else. So when we hear the line about "free loaders" who won't pay for their share of the costs to a union for negotiating a contract, I can understand people pointing to how little was negotiated, including salary.

So what will the Committee of 300 have to do? At the very least I hope they serve decent cookies.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Exposing Unity Caucus: Another View in the UFT - Holding UFT/Leadership's Feet to the Fire

"I never read many of these things given out here but once I started reading this I couldn't stop. I agree completely agree and it explains so much. I feel so isolated."... Chapter leader leaving the Dec. 6 delegate assembly.
We (Arthur, Mike, James and I) put out our 2nd edition of Another View in the UFT, our delegate assembly newsletter. And this one focused on the transgressions of our union leadership and Unity Caucus, using excerpts from our blogs.

Our goal: Holding their feet to the fire. While we are all members of MORE, we have not been satisfied with the literature coming out of MORE which barely mentions Unity or is critical of the union leadership. A major role of an opposition is to expose the people running the union or else why be an opposition? (More on this thesis in the future.) The comment made to me after the DA by the woman is indicative that many people have little idea of Unity as a controlling force for over half a century.

See Arthur's blog on Monday's Ex Bd meeting:

UFT Executive Board Takeaway December 4th, 2017

If you want a pdf to share with your colleagues email me at
The articles:
  • Contract Demands Behind Closed Door
  • By Arthur Goldstein, CL Francis Lewis HS, UFT Ex Bd. 
  • NYCEducator:
  • UFT Leaders/Unity Caucus to Members: You are held accountable – principals and district and special reps – not so much. Should our union protect principals because they are in another union (CSA
  • By Norm Scott, ICE, MORE/UFT –
  • How Unity Caucus control of the DA is undemocratic 
  • By Mike Schirtzer, Delegate Leon Goldstein HS, UFT Ex Bd, MORE/UF
  • Wednesday, December 6, 2017

    Video Teaser: Superintendent John Kuhn

    From Michael Elliot:
    On Saturday Dec 9 it’s time to release John Kuhn’s video from our shoot last April. We need you all to Watch, Like, Share and Tag again.

    This morning we posted a teaser for John on both NPE Facebook page and Shoot4education…  Please watch and share that if you get a chance.   

    With so much bad news, we’ve nothing left to do but fight as hard if not harder than ever.  John’s piece packs quite a wallop and is one of my favorites.  

    School Scope: How Do You Spell “Success”? – Part 1

    Submitted to The WAVE for publication Dec. 9, 2017

    School Scope:  How Do You Spell “Success”? – Part 1
    By Norm Scott

    The current issue of The New Yorker is running a story by Rebecca Meade, Success Academy’s Radical Educational Experiment: Inside Eva Moskowitz’s quest to combine rigid discipline with a progressive curriculum. Good luck with that – the very idea of child-centered progressive education is incompatible with rigid discipline. The schools, forty six so far in NYC with a goal of one hundred, run by Moskowitz, have been controversial on a number of grounds. Educators have long been suspect of the test outcomes, which far surpass not only public schools but also all other charters and even match results in the high performing suburbs. That has caused more than a little skepticism, especially since Moskowitz claims the kids in her schools come from the same pool as the public schools. In essence, the Success lobby is claiming they are miracle workers and their demands for space in public schools keeps increasing even when so many of the 1800 public schools are also competing for space.

    Educational professionals who worked with populations of students similar to those being claimed by Success have been skeptical. As someone who taught elementary school (grades 4-6) in schools with many struggling non-white children and who also holds a Masters in reading instruction, I am a skeptic, especially since I spent years trying to figure out how to break through with kids with reading issues. There are no miracles, though once in a while I saw a child make a major breakthrough.

    One of the major problems for struggling readers is language – even kids born here who hear another language at home. A second issue is whether there are opportunities to read at home or have parents who focus on reading with their children. Even immigrant families whose children read in their native language can make major progress fairly quickly. Generally, the level of income and the amount of economic struggles have a direct impact on the entire process. If one were to go through any school and match reading ability with income in the home, even in the working poor, there would be a strong correlation.

    I taught in a system where classes were made up of kids grouped by reading scores. Thus the so-called top class had the best readers and so on down the line. The bottom class students were the hardest to teach reading too. The UFT contract allows teachers to rotate from the top classes to the lower level readers and back every year, though in my schools, principals save the top classes for their favorites and sometimes we had to file a grievance. I did this for almost twenty years, so I had a good feel for the differences between the kids, who all pretty much lived in the projects across the street. The two times I had the very top class, I was astounded at their general on grade reading ability and also the fact that there were many less discipline issues. Now these were not wealthy people – many were on welfare or had low paying jobs. And there were a lot more two parent homes in the top class than in the bottom. Most of them had been in our school since pre-k (and we found that kids who went to pre-k did better than those who didn’t – shout out to de Blasio). Many of the students entered pre-k with some reading readiness.

    Now I would bet that in Success schools we would find a heavy concentration of the same kinds of students that were in our old top classes. And those who do get into the lottery who are struggling with academics or discipline face high suspension rates and attempts to push them out, a standard operating procedure at most charters.

    How can we tell? Of the 72 students who began at the first Success school in kindergarten, only 17 were left to graduate high school. What happened to the other 55 students?

    There are no miracles. More next time.
    (Link to New Yorker article:

    Norm  does manage to perform miracles every day at

    Sunday, December 3, 2017

    BAT/MORE's Jake Jaobs: Money Talked: Little Known Leaks From 2014 Show Input of Wealthy Privatizers on Hillary Clinton's Education Policy | Alternet

    A leaked policy book captures the influence of billionaire donors looking to overhaul and privatize public education.
    In previous speeches, Clinton campaign manager John Podesta indicated that recruiting and grooming younger, more compliant teachers was the plan to overcome resistance to corporate education reform over the long term..... The revolving door was also in full swing, with top Clinton and Obama administration officials working for “non-profits” run by Powell Jobs and Tom Steyer. In the end, the influence of the various well-connected “experts” advising Clinton could be felt in an official education platform that endorsed a test-centric approach that was increasingly unpopular with parents, students and educators, and  out of favor with voters.  .... Jake Jacobs -
    While the role of the union was not the purview of this article, I find it interesting how so many are willing to let Randi and the entire UFT/Unity operation off the hook when we talk about the Democratic Party complicity. You can't talk about how the Dems and Clintons screwed unions and teachers without talking about how our own  union has been a handmaiden to ed deform. I think it needs a part 2.

    But still great work by Jake Jacobs posted by Michael Fiorillo who says: While it’s a given that Trump is beyond awful, this should serve as a little reminder about how Hillary would have screwed educators.

    That the article doesn't address Randi/AFT/UFT complicity with the Clintons ed policy -- well, forever, is bothersome - see my post (How Education Reform Ate the Democratic Party - Cl...) and gives Randi some cover when it mentions her pushing community schools with Hillary. Note that the BATS seemed to have some kind of working relationship with Randi at the 2016 AFT convention in Minneapolis so stepping on her toes may be off the agenda.

    Despite all this it is a must read article.

    Friday, December 1, 2017

    Vera Shlakman, Professor Fired During Red Scare, Dies at 108 - The New York Times

    Pressed about whether being a Communist would close a teacher’s mind to any deviation from the party line, she replied that similar speculations had been raised against devout Roman Catholics.....
    Well, Vera Shlakman, born in 1909, a year later than that bastard Joe McCarthy, outlasted him by 60 years. Of course I imagine Al Shanker was on the sidelines cheering when she was fired.

    I knew and know lots of red diaper babies -- the children of parents who were in the Communist Party USA, which had widespread influence in the 30s, especially in civil rights and the fight for unions. I think they were done in by their rigid adherence to the Stalinist line, even when he made a deal with Hitler in 1939.

    I don't think the militant union movements in this country could have been built without the work of the CP.  But then came the purge that left the unions in control of the kind of people who have led us to where we are today. 

    I'm very ambivalent about these kinds of political parties on the left (probably some on the right but I don't follow that end of the spectrum.) When I first got involved around 1970, the leading opposition group in the UFT at the time was a known as a CP outpost of teachers who were part of the old Teachers Union (TU), a bunch of whom had been fired around 1954.  I learned from some mentors on the left that once a party line was set by the leadership -- not always obvious -- there was no way to deflect them from that line even if it became obvious that they were going in the wrong direction. But more on this topic, which needs to be explored more in depth, another time. Celebrate the life of Vera Shlakman. 108 is nothing to sneeze at. I only have 35 years to go.